FLASH NEWS
FLASH NEWS
Monday, January 18, 2021

Social media blocked forward of ballot

Bobi Wine and Yoweri Museveni campaign posters in Uganda - January 2021
Bobi Wine (at left) is standing in opposition to long-term chief Yoweri Museveni

Uganda has blocked entry to social media and messaging apps forward of Thursday’s hotly contested election.

A letter, seen by AFP and Reuters, was despatched to all telecoms companies by the communications regulator ordering the rapid shutdown.

It comes a day after Fb closed “pretend” accounts it mentioned had been linked to the federal government, saying they had been getting used to spice up the recognition of posts.

The run-up to the election has been marred by rigidity and violence.

President Yoweri Museveni is in search of his sixth elected time period in workplace after 35 years in energy.

The 76-year-old faces 10 challengers, most notably 38-year-old pop star turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, identified by his stage identify Bobi Wine.

The BBC’s Persistence Atuhaire within the Ugandan capital, Kampala, says the marketing campaign interval has been dominated by social media, as political events have tried to achieve the younger, politically conscious inhabitants.

‘Retaliation over Fb closures’

The Uganda Communications Fee (UCC) has not responded to media requests to verify the shutdown order, however web monitoring group NetBlocks says it has famous restrictions on all main web suppliers within the East African nation.

Our correspondent confirms widespread experiences of disruption on platforms comparable to Fb, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat, when utilizing the nation’s information servers.

The AFP and Reuters information businesses quote business sources as saying that telecoms executives had been instructed the ban was in retaliation for Fb blocking pro-government accounts.

On Monday, the federal government described Fb’s motion as high-handed and mentioned Thursday’s elections could be free and honest.

One insider instructed AFP that web service suppliers had been additionally given a listing by the UCC of 100 digital non-public networks (VPNs) to dam.

Through the 2016 election, the federal government blocked social media on polling day and for a number of days after, which led to the proliferation of VPN use within the nation, our reporter says.

Uganda's general election. 14 January 2021 [ 18.1m people have registered to vote ] [ 11 candidates are running for president ],[ 1 of the candidates is a woman, Nancy Kalembe ],[ 5 elected terms so far for Yoweri Museveni ],[ 50% plus 1 votes needed for a candidate to avoid a run-off election ],[ 529 MPs will also be elected ], Source: Source: Uganda electoral commission, Image: A woman in a mask in front of a mural
Uganda’s common election. 14 January 2021 [ 18.1m people have registered to vote ] [ 11 candidates are running for president ],[ 1 of the candidates is a woman, Nancy Kalembe ],[ 5 elected terms so far for Yoweri Museveni ],[ 50% plus 1 votes needed for a candidate to avoid a run-off election ],[ 529 MPs will also be elected ], Supply: Supply: Uganda electoral fee, Picture: A lady in a masks in entrance of a mural

In the meantime, Bobi Wine has known as on voters to stay at polling stations on Thursday and use their cell phone cameras to file the tallying course of, amid issues over election rigging.

Bobi Wine (L) is hoping to take over the presidency from Yoweri Museveni
Campaigning has been affected by coronavirus

The candidate made the plea after saying his home had been raided and safety guards arrested earlier on Tuesday, the final day of campaigning. A police spokesman denied there had been any arrests.

Mr Museveni’s rival has been detained periodically, and dozens of opposition protesters have been killed within the run-up to the vote.

Kizza Besigye, a veteran opposition chief who challenged President Museveni in 4 earlier elections however just isn’t standing once more, mentioned the violence of this marketing campaign was “unprecedented”.

“Violence, terror appear to be scaled up with each coming election. This election has witnessed untold violence. It will get worse and worse by the day,” he mentioned.

Campaigning was banned in Kampala, and a number of other different districts. The opposition says it is because it’s in style in these areas, however the authorities says the measure was attributable to Covid-19 restrictions.

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